WASECA — ZITA MARIE MITTELSTAEDT, age 88 of Waseca, passed away Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at Foxdale Colony Court in Waseca.
Zita was born January 2, 1933, to C. Everett Furr and Loretta Marie (Carrigan) Furr of Pipestone. Her family moved to farms near Mankato and then Pemberton before moving to a farm just north of Waseca in 1940. In 1949, at the age of 16, she tragically lost her mother in a gas stove explosion. Her father later married Emily Boucher in 1953, a widow with four children. They were blessed with two children of their own, completing their family of 17 children.
Zita was active in 4-H in high school and was awarded the State Champion Health Queen in 1950. She graduated from Sacred Heart High School in 1951 and attended Mankato Teaching College, where she received her teacher's certificate. Her first job was in Albert Lea, where she taught for one year.
She married the love of her life, Clifford Mittelstaedt, on June 16, 1956. She met Cliff at Tyrholm Inc., who was employed as the accountant at the time, when she and her sister Rita stopped there to have the family car repaired.
She taught elementary school in Waseca for a year before switching to part-time while raising their four sons. She attended night school at Mankato State University and received her B.S. in Elementary Education in 1965. Zita started teaching full-time again in 1972, in Morristown, where she taught for 21 years before retiring in 1993. She was chosen Teacher Of The Year in the Morristown school district in 1976. She continued to tutor and read to children in the neighborhood during her retirement years before moving to Foxdale Colony Court in 2016.
Zita was involved in many activities at Sacred Heart Church for 50 years. She was very active in Catholic Daughters and was a Eucharistic minister for 30 years. She was leader of the Waseca Busy Boys 4-H club, chaperoned the old schoolhouse at Farm America, and also volunteered at the Lakeshore Inn nursing home. She loved doing fun activities with her grandchildren like treasure hunts, baking cookies, reading books, and playing in the park. She also enjoyed tennis, golf, and fishing. She had a passion for photography and competed for many years at the Waseca County Fair. She loved tending to her flowers and vegetable garden in her backyard.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her stepmother Emily (Boucher) Furr, her brothers William Furr of Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Leo Furr of Bird Island, Robert Furr of Waseca, her sister Loretta Olson of Faribault, her sister-in-law Marilyn (Charles) Furr of Kailua, Hawaii, sister-in-law Geraldine (William) Furr of Chicago, Illinois, and sister-in-law Norma Boucher of Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
She is survived by her husband, Cliff, of 64 years of marriage, sons Steven (Sandy) of Northfield, Paul of Moorhead, Robert (Renee) of Traverse City, Michigan, and Daniel (Lisa) of Eagan, her seven grandchildren Gina, Katie, Joseph, Jacob, Jamie, Matthew, and Olivia, and six great grandchildren. She is also survived by her brothers and sisters Thomas (Betty) Furr of Rochester, Rita (Jack) Eggert of New Haven, Missouri, Gertrude (Mahlon) Grubish of Waterville, Charles Furr of Kailua, Hawaii, Margaret (Norm) Doyone of Hudson, Wisconsin, Ramona (Tony) Tonga of Faribault, Anne (Dan) Pote of Plano, Texas, Laura (Brian) Draeger of Marion, Iowa, and her stepbrothers and sisters Eileen Kott of St. Paul, Leo (Phyllis) Boucher of St. Paul, Thomas Boucher of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Mary Brixius of Kirkland, Washington, and 49 nieces and nephews.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at 2:00 pm at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Waseca, with Father Thé Hoang officiating. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 12:00 pm until the time of the service at the church on Saturday. In lieu of flowers, contributions to Waseca Sacred Heart School would be appreciated. Dennis Funeral & Cremation Services in Waseca is handling the arrangements.